Nobody Gives You a Free iPhone on Instagram: How to Avoid the Latest Social Media Scam

A free iPhone 13 on Instagram? Don’t fall for it!

James Martin/CNET

Social media scams are nothing new, but cyberthieves are always coming up with new tricks to steal your personal information. If you use Instagram, you may have noticed a sudden surge in strangers tagging you in posts about winning a free iPhone 13. All you have to do is click the link in the description to claim it, the post says. This scheme is not new: it has reportedly resurfaced every few years along with the Release of a new phone.

If you’ve been tagged in one – or more – of these posts, we’re sorry, but there’s no free phone waiting for you. Clicking the link will take you to a webpage where you’ll be asked to enter some details and your credit or debit card information, according to a February report by Hindustan Times Tech.

Here’s how to look out for scams and protect yourself against them.

What does the scam look like on Instagram?

Here are two examples of what this scam looks like:

What should you do if you see the Instagram scam?

first of all, do not click the link. This may seem obvious, but unfortunately, scammers are smart and take advantage Phishing schemes to exploit vulnerabilities, like the lack of technical knowledge of a person. There are many legitimate sweepstakes opportunities online, but if you’ve entered one of them you know it’s highly unlikely that you’ll win. In addition, for a legitimate sweepstakes, there should be easily accessible information about how the contest works, how you can enter, who is sponsoring the contest, and similar important information, even if it’s in the fine print.

With social media scams, it is much more difficult to follow a digital paper trail to the source, if there is any trail at all. If you do a separate search for the user who “tagged” you or the link you’re supposed to click, you’ll likely see little to nothing in the Instagram app. Other red flags can include obviously photoshopped images, lots of emojis, urgent language, and misspellings.

Ignoring the tag is an option, but there are many ways to tighten your Instagram security settings. Here are a few other ways to protect yourself from this system:

Instagram Mentions

Restrict who can tag you in mentions on Instagram in the app settings.

Shelby Brown/CNET

Restrict who can mention you in comments

The best way to combat this particular scam is to restrict who can mention you in a post’s comments. Here’s what to do:

1. Open the Instagram app.
2. Tap your profile icon in the bottom right of the screen.
3. Tap the settings bars in the top right corner.
4. Choose Settings.
5
. tap mentions.
6
. Select Mentions from Everyone, people you follow or No one.

Limit who can tag you in photos

Tagging other users on photos is common on social media, but you can gain more control by customizing your app settings.

1. Open the Instagram app.
2. Tap your profile icon in the bottom right of the screen.
3. Tap the settings bars in the top right corner.
4. Choose settings.
5. tap posts.
6. From here you can choose Allow tags from and select Everyone, people you follow or No oneas well as the option to Approve tags manually.

Control who can message you

The “free iPhone” posts were mostly spotted in comments, but there were also reports of DM messages. To quickly adjust your message settings:

1. Open the Instagram app.
2. Tap your profile icon in the bottom right of the screen.
3. Tap the settings bars in the top right corner.
4. Choose settings.
5. tap announcements.
6. From here you can choose to receive messages from strangers in your main inbox, your Inquiry folder, or not at all.

Report suspicious comments as spam

Since most of these fake contests appear in comments, it’s important to know how to report them. You can also flag comments that don’t mention you, which can be helpful when discussions about a post get heated. Here’s what to do:

1. Select the relevant comment.
2. Tap the speech bubble with an exclamation mark icon. This should appear in a blue banner at the top of your screen.
3. Select Report this comment. You can also block the account.

instagram-private

To make your Instagram account private, just toggle the option in settings.

Shelby Brown/CNET

Make your account private

Making your Instagram account private is more of a general security measure. If your account is set to private, other users must request to follow you. If you accept the request, they can view your content. It’s easy to change this setting:

1. Open the Instagram app.
2. Tap your profile icon in the bottom right of the screen.
3. Tap the settings bars in the top right corner.
4. Choose settings.
5. tap privacy.
6. Turn on personal account.

For more information, see Phishing tactics disguised as “fun”. pay attention to social media, and Browser settings you should change to protect your privacy.


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